This is NOT a story about a mother who lost her toddlers in the food court.
This IS the true story of 5 youngsters who lost their moral compass, rampaged thru a mall on the day after Christmas (aka, National Mall Riot Day), got arrested for disorderly conduct and one of them threw a punch at a cop. All of these juveniles ranging in age from 11 to 15 were egged on by at least 30 other children (similar ages) who likewise lost their way in life.
How did it all start? Two girls were fighting, others joined in, crowds formed and when cops interceded one of the 15 year old’s took a swing at the cop. Bad idea. By the way, he was also wearing an ankle bracelet since he was already on probation for armed robbery. I always thought that probation and ankle bracelets were intended to monitor the movements of criminals thereby protecting society from further mayhem but I digress and that’s a topic for another day, another rant.
If you can envision the stage of the Jerry Springer Show with combatants on stage falling away while audience members hoot/holler with fights breaking out everywhere, imagine an entire mall engulfed in this behavior. That’s what’s happening all across America on the day after Christmas. So much for “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men”. These children have lost their way and so has America if we continue down this path. And it’s not just on the day after Christmas. This behavior occurs throughout the year, particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings.
How do I know all of this? As a mall cop for 15 years, I had a front row seat to this mayhem. I have observed despicable behavior as youngsters spit at each other, sucker punch each other, gang up on each other and hurl racist insults at me because of my uniform and the color of my skin.
Am I bitter? No.
Am I sad. Yes.
Sad for them.
- If they remain on the same track, they will never amount to anything in life. They will never achieve their full intellectual and emotional potential
- They will go thru life angry & fighting. What’s most sad is the fact that they will never realize why they can not dig themselves out of their own hole of hate.
- They will demand respect of others but never demonstrate it to others
- The day will come when they insult and abuse the wrong person. In a worst case scenario if their mall mayhem behavior escalates, they will end up homicide victims or homicide suspects
So what’s our options? Some say….
- Lock em’ up. Juvenile hall. Scare em’ straight. Some even say, lock up the parents.
- Leave em’ alone. or Warehouse ’em. They’ll grow out of it. Maybe for some but most will just wallow in their own angry juices or just get worse.
We’ve been doing the above strategies for years at great cost with seemingly no positive results.
Maybe we should consider the following to get beyond this quagmire and find a cost effective, long term solution:
- Mandated, long-term, intensive therapy for all combatants. This includes the parents/guardians over a sustained timeline. Get to the bottom line, the root cause of why these lost children act and think the way they do.
- For every delinquent (let’s call ’em what they are and not sugar coat this), customize intensive interventions since the kid on probation with the ankle bracelet for a prior armed robbery is way more damaged goods than the youngster whose biggest offence is being mouthy and belligerent.
- For those (kids and parents/guardians) who comply with the aforementioned intensive interventions and for those who demonstrate progress over time, let any criminal charges be wiped clear. For those hell bent on avoiding the therapeutic, redemptive route, let the criminal charges stick and ban them from access to places of business (malls, movie theatres or wherever their behavior causes chaos).
That’s my observation and recommendation. I would love to hear any other thoughts concerning how we can FIND these LOST CHILDREN and in the process find the soul of our nation before it also is lost.